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'Arthur's' themed music and restaurant nights launch at Fenwick - here's what to expect

Fenwick has pulled out all the stops for its 140th anniversary celebrations. Now they’ve razzle dazzled with a Prohibition-themed restaurant pop up.

Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:45 am

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Arthur’s is the latest creative segment in the year-long celebrations which mark 140 years since John James Fenwick opened his stylish store in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, which would go on to become a North East icon, as well as one of the UK’s most-successful department store brands.

His son, Arthur Fenwick, had a lifelong passion for the circus and it’s this sense of wonder and showmanship that’s inspired the celebrations, from fashion collaborations and an exhibition in store to retro foods and pop up events.

And be prepared to dust off your dancing shoes for the latest slice of the celebrations: Arthur’s Restaurant & Music Club.

Arthur's launched at Fenwick with a prohibition-themed evening

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Housed in the old Tivoli restaurant, behind the new 140 exhibition, Arthur’s transports you to the decadent days of Great Gatsby with its British racing green hues, chequerboard dance floor, heavy draped curtains, spotlighted signs and tables set like a speakeasy.

Arthur’s will be hosting monthly dining and music events for themed weekends, as well as opulent afternoon teas.

For the launch weekend, the theme was Prohibition and, visiting the site after closing time, it really did feel like we were entering into a speakeasy in 1920s Chicago, instead of a Newcastle department store.

As you’d expect from Fenwick, there’s been no expense spared in transforming this space, from the brightly tinted windows to the specially-made branded carpet leading to Arthur’s which is woven with circus characters and the immaculately-set tables. Style flows this store.

Guests were entertained by Michael Lamb's Strictly Smokin' Tiny Big Band

The menu is set according to the theme, with a vegetarian or meat option, and you pre-order ahead of the event.

As we took our seats overlooking the dancefloor and stage by low lamplight, served by staff in black tie, it really did feel like a special event as we enjoyed a themed Prohibition-style cocktail of Classic White Lady Hepple Gin with a rhubarb and blood orange twist.

I’ve had my starter of Waldorf salad before at Fenwick. It’s a simple dish done well, and with its New York roots perfectly tying in with the theme.

My main was a satisfying slab of tender beer-brined breast of chicken with sauteed potatoes, watercress and tarragon, another classy dish.

Flapper girls entertained between courses

Dessert again delved into the culinary archives for inspiration with a moreish pineapple upside cake served with spiced rum caramel and a splodge of vanilla cream.

In between courses, we were entertained by the talents of Michael Lamb's Strictly Smokin' Tiny Big Band who worked their way through some classic jazz standards and swing tracks such as Puttin’ on the Ritz and Get Happy and an impressive big band take on more modern hits, such as George Michael’s Careless Whisper.

All the while, flapper girls shimmied and high-kicked on the dance floor – and they’re not the only ones who showed some moves. Diners are also encouraged to dance the night away and take to the floor in this truly elegant affair.

Afternoon tea

Waldorf salad starter

Arthur's Afternoon Tea will be served from 12pm until 4pm on selected Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, and is priced at £25 for an Afternoon Tea and £32.50 for a Sparkling Afternoon Tea.

You can book at Fenwick.co.uk

Themed evenings

Arthur's will play host to monthly themed events which will take place on Friday and Saturday nights from 7pm until 10pm.

Tickets for the opening weekend were priced at £50 with the ticket price including a prohibition-style drink on arrival, a three-course dinner, and a half-bottle of wine during the meal.

Each event will offer a curated menu and entertainment, with themes ranging from a Platinum Jubilee celebration to a floor-filling DJ takeover, with ticket details announced on the store’s what’s on pages.

Pineapple upside down cake

Future dates are:

:: 3rd & 4th June: Jubilee Extravaganza

:: 1st & 2nd July: Havana Nights

:: 22nd & 23rd July: Let's Cabaret

:: 26th & 27th August: DJ Beats

:: 23rd & 24th September: Future Sounds

Hepple Gin-themed cocktails